Morocco: Organization Names Collaborators

A Moroccan Jew who advises the King named by anti-Israel organization as a collaborator with Israel.

Elad Benari ,

Modern-day Morocco
Modern-day Morocco
Israel news photo: Flash 90

An anti-Israel Moroccan organization has issued a list of people and institutions whom it accuses of collaborating with the Jewish state and being “symbols of the Zionist infiltration into Morocco,” the i24news website reported on Tuesday.

The Moroccan Observatory against Normalization with Israel published the list last week, according to the report, which sited Moroccan news site Hespress.

Among the people named was Andre Azoulay, a Moroccan Jew and advisor to King Mohammed VI; Driss El Yazami, chairman of the National Human Rights Council; businessman Gabriel Banon and Ibrahim el Fassi Fihri, founder of the Amadeus student exchange program.

All were said to have visited Israel and/or worked to promote cooperation with it, according to the report.

The organization was established last year, when five political parties, including the Islamist ruling party, jointly sponsored two bills that propose to make it illegal to trade with Israeli entities and for Israelis to enter Morocco, according to i24news.

Before Israel was founded in 1948, there were about 300,000 Jews in Morocco. By 1971, the Jewish population was down to 35,000 and at present fewer than 7,000 Jews are believed to remain, mostly divided between Rabat and Casablanca.

There have been several Jewish parliamentarians in Morocco over the years. In 1956 when Morocco attained independence, there were three Jews in parliament and one minister, Leon Benzeknin, who served as Minister of Postal Services and Health. In the 1980s, Serge Birdigho served as the tourism minister.

Maguy Kakon, a real-estate consultant, tried to enter the parliament in the 2011 elections.

The Moroccan monarch has long been a friend to the Jews. Orthodox Rabbi Raphael Benchimol of the Manhattan Sephardic Congregation was honored with the Knight of the Order of the Throne from King Mohammed VI two years ago.

Nevertheless, there has also been some violence against Jews in Morocco over the past several years. In 2012, an Israeli delegation was treated to massive display of dangerous hostility when a mob burned an Israeli flag and surrounded the Moroccan parliament building as it hosted a meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED) organization in Rabat. 

The same day, an elderly Jewish man was beaten to death in Fez by an unidentified assailant wielding a heavy hammer.